Curiosity – that is the willingness to get involved in something new, to leave one’s comfort zone and to learn. It is thus the driving force for experiments, innovations, and progress. And hence also the starting point for independent learning. But beyond our comfort zone are not just opportunities and experiences, but also uncertainty and risks. Therefore, many of us lose our courage to curiosity with increasing life experience – fatal in an ever faster changing world!

Curious people want to gain experience, implement ideas and find friends among colleagues. They do not see themselves as rebels, as a study by the pharmaceutical company Merck shows.

Points to be Noted!

  • Employees reach higher scores on Merck’s Curiosity Index as an employer!
  • Older workers are hardly less curious than younger ones, but they show a greater stress tolerance!
  • Merck defines four dimensions: curiosity, creativity, openness and stress tolerance!

Four types of Curiosity: First, the study defines four dimensions of curiosity:

Curiosity, or more precisely proactive questions, thinking and acting beyond one’s own job requirements,

Creativity, the will to question the existing and the ability to recognize new approaches to problem-solving,

Openness, understood here as preferring a variety of experiences, as an interest in world events or as an open mind to new ideas and

Stress tolerance, the ability to take risks and to persevere, restates the ability to face the new and the unknown without fear.

Employee’s worldwide curious at work?

How curious are employees, what significance does curiosity have in different industries, are younger people more curious than older people? Such questions have so far been unanswered, Merck explains, the pharmaceutical group has therefore carried out its study involving some 3,000 workers from Germany, China, and the USA.

Merck explains the study as follows: “Curiosity – the desire to learn and discover – is the pulsing heart of our daily work.”For the Group, the curiosity of the employees and the ability to innovate belong together.

Everyone is lack of curiosity. Curiosity and imagination and creativity are closely related, curiosity and the pursuit of innovation have driven economic growth and the potential for the benefit of society.

For employers, the differences are clearer.China has the highest curiosity index at 59.7, followed by the United States of America at 57.3. Germany is in the last place with 52.7. Thus the discrepancy between employees and employers is greatest in the Federal Republic.

In the curious comparison of the most watched employees in China, United States, and Germany, the overall curiosity index of Chinese employees lagged behind that of Germany in second place while Chinese employers ranked the curiosity index first. Among them, the curiosity of Chinese employees and employers is the highest; while that of Chinese employees is significantly lower than that of the other two countries.

Reports on China’s workplace curiosity index have an exciting discovery – Chinese employer’s curiosity index ranked first in the three countries. Nearly half of Chinese employees said the work they have full autonomy. Chinese employees of curiosity index ranked second in the three countries, and the highest score on the curiosity of curiosity and openness two dimensions, but it also had the lowest stress tolerance.

Another interesting observation is that curiosity scores seem to be related to participants’ positions in the company. Leaders in the role of employees, such as managers or higher positions, have a higher curiosity index; those with entry-level, administrative or civilian staff curiosity index lowest.

Who is more curious?

This question overwrites another chapter of the study. Therefore, curiosity has little to do with age. Generations Y, X, and Baby boomer differ little from each other – on average. But a look at the individual dimensions shows the boys as much less stress-tolerant as the old ones (generation Y: 51.3 points, baby boomers: 60.4 points).

Especially generous are managers and executives (index value of 68.2). Less interested are qualified professionals (58.7) and administrators, as well as typists (52.2). Regarding industries, companies that produce consumer discretionary have the highest value (61.3), ahead of education (58.2), finance (57.9), and companies that produce consumer staples (53.7). In each of these sectors, employees again score higher than employers.

What marks the curiousness?

Curious people ascribe to themselves above all six characteristics. They are therefore organized, cooperative, energetic, optimistic and detail-oriented as well as prudent. The weakest aspects they call anxiety, bias, cynicism, and rebel hold. At their workplace, they want to make new experiences, put ideas into action quickly, bring in their talent and make friends. All this is more important to them than being promoted or getting a salary increase.

Merck CEO Stefan Oschmann comments on the study: “Curiosity fuels business development and empowers companies like ours to remain competitive.”

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